Kansas City running back Darrel Williams is the consummate professional.
And just like when he played for LSU from 2014-2017, when he was often the second or third back behind Leonard Fournette and Derrius Guice, it doesn’t matter that the third-year pro has never started an NFL regular season game or that the Chiefs have either drafted or signed running backs ticketed to start or receive substantial playing time.
Whenever his number is called, he’s ready and prepared.
Like Sunday when LSU rookie and Chiefs’ starting running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire, nursing ankle and hip injuries, was placed on the injury list before the Chiefs hosted Cleveland in the AFC semifinals.
Williams, who was undrafted, came up huge in the first start of his career in a 22-17 win that advanced Kansas City to the AFC championship game vs. Buffalo.
Playing on 79 percent of KC’s offensive snaps, he ran for his season-best 78 yards on 13 carries and had 4 catches for 16 yards as the Chiefs held on in the second half after quarterback Patrick Mahomes was knocked out of the game with a concussion. Williams produced five first downs in his 17 touches, including a 5-yard catch on 3rd and 4 on the Chiefs’ final possession as they retained possession to clinch the win.
In an NFC semifinal, Tampa Bay’s Fournette and linebacker Devin White came home to Louisiana and broke the hearts of New Orleans Saints fans in a 30-20 victory over the Saints in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
White, playing in his first playoff game in his second year in the NFL, had 11 tackles (10 solo), a 28-yard interception return and a fumble recovery with both Saints’ turnovers leading to touchdowns. Fournette ran for 63 yards on 17 carries and had 5 catches for 44 yards including a 6-yard TD grab that started Tampa Bay’s run of 17 unanswered points.
Here’s what all former LSU standouts on NFL playoff teams during the conference semifinals:
Buffalo Bills 17, Baltimore Ravens 3
Bills – CB Tre’Davious White 6 tackles (5 solo), 1 TFL, 1 PBU. LS Reid Ferguson snapped for 2 of 2 extra points, 1 of 3 field goals and 4 punts. Ravens – LB Patrick Queen 2 tackles (1 solo).
Green Bay Packers 32, Los Angeles Rams 18
Rams – DT Michael Brockers 8 tackles (4 solo), OT Andrew Whitworth played 53 snaps.
Tampa Bay Bucs 30, New Orleans Saints 20
Saints – OLB Kwon Alexander DNP sustained season-ending torn Achilles tendon, OL Will Clapp placed on COVID-19 list. Bucs – RB Leonard Fournette 63 yards rushing on 17 carries and 5 catches for 44 yards including a 6-yard TD, LB Devin White 11 tackles (10 solo), 1 TFL, a 28-yard interception return, 1 PBU, a fumble recovery, LB Kevin Minter no stats.
Kansas City Chiefs 22, Cleveland Browns 17
Chiefs – RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire on inactive list (ankle/hip injuries), CB Tyrann Mathieu 7 tackles (5 solo), 1 TFL, 1 interception for 17 yards, 1 PBU, RB Darrel Williams 78 yards on 13 carries, 4 catches for 16 yards. Browns – LB Jacob Phillips 2 tackles (1 solo), WR Jarvis Landry 7 catches for 20 yards, 1 RD, WR Odell Beckham Jr out for the season with torn ACL, CB Greedy Williams on injured reserve list.